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What’s on in York? Vikings, Romans and iconic kids’ events

Jo Dorey

20 April 2018

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3 minutes
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What’s on in York? It’s a question which, unless you’re local, might not be at the forefront of your mind but actually there are loads of great kids’ events in York. The city is a family gem with its Roman roots, Viking history and a chocolate story all of its own! We think these alone are good enough reasons to get the car on the road and on a mission to find out what’s happening in York. With our guide to the best annual events, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

A kid at the Jorvik Viking Festival.

Family and kids’ events in York

Summer Events

  • Eboracum Roman Festival, 1st - 3rd June, The Yorkshire Museum:

    We know more than a few tykes who are obsessed with the Romans. With their gladiators, badly behaved gods and extravagant feasts, it’s a period of history which simply never goes out of style in the kid community. That’s what the Eboracum Roman Festival is here to celebrate with loads of iconic events like military parades, siege weapon demonstrations and an actual camp showing what domestic life was like way back when. Families could have a gander at a few of Britain’s most treasured Roman artefacts and even take part in themed workshops. Out of all the York events we’ve explored, this is the most ancient!

Autumn Events

  • York Food & Drink Festival, 21st - 30th September, St Sampson’s Square:

    Who here doesn’t love a slap-up meal? Expect one with all the trimmings at the York Food & Drink Festival, where tasty treats are the number one priority. It’s a 10-day event for foodies of all ages so expect markets stuffed to the brim with intriguing delicacies and dainties and loads of hands-on workshops where your brood can get comfortable with cookery. (See if you can’t bring those skills back to your kitchen at home!) Local chefs will also be giving demonstrations using fresh, organic ingredients making it the yummiest entry in our list of what’s on in York.

    People making treats at York's Chocolate Story.

  • York Balloon Fiesta, 28th - 30th September, York Knavesmire (Racecourse):

    If last year was anything to go by, the York Balloon Fiesta is going to be a soaring success! It’s one of those kids’ events in York where the whole city can get involved; you can’t help but as wherever you are, you’ll be able to see the enormous bulbs of colour swooping, drifting and looping over the skyline. Over 50 balloons will take to the air from Knavesmire while a festival takes place on the ground below, complete with a Victorian-inspired funfair, live music and scrummy street food from local vendors. Lift off!

Winter Events

  • York Christmas Festival, 15th November - 23rd December, throughout the city centre:

    With its cosy coffee houses and medieval backdrop, York is one of our favourite festive cities. That’s why the York Christmas Festival is such a special event as the scent of mulled wine fills the air and traditional chalets line the streets. Want to have a good laugh? Spend a night in the stalls for riotous panto antics. Fancy showing your skills off? Throw some skates on and take a spin at The Ice Factor. Families can ring in the special season together with fun at the fair and a classic hog roast - sounds good to us.

    A child on a ride at The Ice Factor York.

  • Jorvik Viking Festival, 20th - 27th February 2019, Parliament St:

    We’ve already had Romans on the list so what could make it even better..? Vikings! And lots of them as the Jorvik Viking Festival invades every nook and cranny across the city. It’s the largest event of its kind in Europe and in terms of what’s on in York, the only one to include a Best Beard contest! As well as follicle feats, this week-long celebration will include walks, talks and tours, as well as dramatic combat performances, living history encampments and a competition for the most mighty Viking. Just make sure you stick around for the last day as their finale always promises to be spectacular. May the Norse be with you! Can we get away with that..?

    A kid giving a Viking a high five at the Jorvik Viking Festival.

With a sword in one hand and our guide to what’s on in York in the other, go and discover your next adventure. If you need any extra incentives, take a look at our things to do in York page where there are loads of family-focused days out. You could also take a look below at one or three of our blogs on the subject or our top attraction tips. You’re welcome!

5 Free days out in York | York's Chocolate Story Video Review | 13 fun family activities in York  

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Jo Dorey

20 April 2018

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Jo is a Copywriter at Day Out With The Kids. She’s lived all over the world in places like Pakistan, Hungary and Hong Kong - these days though she loves a good, long walk and hanging out with her cat, Fergus.

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